Beyond the Arc

by Ben Fiore

All the hype is around Kawhi Leonard for this Raptors season and especially after this amazing playoffs and finals run he’s made. Which is clearly well deserved. What people aren’t looking at closely enough are 3 stigmas really, but I’m gonna call them curses.

BROKEN CURSE 1: KYLE LOWRY’S MEDIOCRITY

A few months back, I wrote and article called “Back Burners” about how Kyle Lowry and Kemba Walker we’re very unappreciated as players. Memes have spread across the internet of Kyle Lowry always slacking in the playoffs and not being a competitive point guard. Kawhi has shown up, and visibly made his stats and game play increase. Kyle Lowry has played at a higher level since Kawhi showed up and is finally starting to get some recognition for the right reasons.

BROKEN CURSE 2: THE RAPTORS BOUNCING EARLY IN THE PLAYOFFS

Toronto has always been seen as the “Bengals” of the playoffs. A team that could do better than ever in the regular season but always fail in the playoffs. For a while, the Raptors lead by Lowry and DeMar DeRozan couldn’t get past LeBron James with the Heat then Cavaliers, continuously bouncing out in the second or third round. Leonard replaces DeRozan through the trade this past offseason, and look. The Raptors make it to their first ever NBA finals, AND hold a promising series lead against the Warriors.

BROKEN CURSE 3: TRADED SUPERSTARS WILL ONLY PUT IN EFFORT FOR TEAMS THEY WANT TO PLAY FOR

It’s stereotypical for big name stars to usually be seen as “not enthused to play” unless they signed with that team. Countless players have created that stigma but Kawhi has broken it. He has put in possibly the greatest season of his career with a team he was traded to in Toronto when we all know he wanted/wants to play in LA. Kawhi has put up monster number and lead his trades team to the Finals. Kawhi is a calm work horse and has proved he’ll play like that no matter where he is.

BUT WILL KAWHI STAY?

Most of the NBA has expected Leonard to dip from the 6 and still head to LA this offseason. Is this finals run a good enough reason for him to stay? With a good supporting cast and a clear good system fit for him there while having a great relationship with the organization and city, there’s a chance he comes back. I’m not expecting it per say, but Kawhi is a surprising dude. He just might surprise us again.

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Written by benfiore

NBA writer of Beyond the Arc. Employee, podcast host and writer for Thoughts From the Bench.

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